The long-wave line in view

The long-wave line in view

‘Not an old folks' flower show at all’ is how one presenter from SWR described the garden show taking place in Mühlacker, Baden. Full responsibility for the planning of this event lay with Elke Ukas Landschaftsarchitekten Karlsruhe (landscape architects).

The Sparkassen playground was also finally completed on the day the garden show was officially opened, and is now free for the younger visitors to spend many pleasant hours there on the banks of the Enz River with their families. Shortly before its completion, the garden show, together with its premium partner, the Pforzheim Calw Sparkasse, sent out invites for the playground to be tested. And make no mistake – the small but nevertheless critical playground experts from the Dürrmenzer Kindergarten on Schulstrasse gladly accepted the invitation and subjected the Sparkassen playground to a thorough examination. It didn't take long for them to reach a verdict: “We'll be back here to play soon!”

“If the garden show is the green heart of the town, then the Sparkassen playground definitely provides the heart with a beating rhythm,” grinned Mayor Frank Schneider and Sparkasse market director Gerd Owczarek while watching the eager playground testers.


“When we watch them having so much fun during the test run of the playground, we can rest assured that our patronage is helping to support a part of the garden show that will remain a magnet and a popular long-term attraction for families from Mühlacker and the region even after 13 September,” pronounced Ulrich Haag, head of Events & Sponsoring for Sparkasse, happily. Of course, when the garden show ends, the fun is far from over. The playground has been constructed as a robust permanent fixture, which will survive many years of intensive use. The sustainability aspect was important to the partner from the outset: “We would like to actively contribute towards strengthening the solidarity of the community over the long term, and to improve quality of life in the area,” states Haag. “And projects that benefit children and young people lie particularly close to our hearts so the choice to provide patronage for the playground was quickly taken!” Only this readiness to play a significant role in realising it enabled the town to proceed with the construction of the imaginative new play landscape.

Responsible for the realisation of the playground: KuKuk GmbH. The company from Stuttgart was awarded the contract for the installation of the play and exercise area elements after submitting a functional tender. Their tender bet on the “Transmitters and Sounds” theme created by the landscape architects. The artistic requirement was to create areas for all the visitors. The guiding principles underlying the planning process: Nature on one side and human settlement on the other. Something incredible arose right beside the Enz: A natural water foreshore with timber lying as if washed ashore by chance; roots, which look as though they have been trapped there by the undergrowth; sandbanks which appear to have been created from entirely natural processes; and pebbles of varying size which look as though they have been carried from the bed of the Enz to the shore by the natural currents of the river. This ‘primordial’ landscape offers plenty of grounds for free play: The ‘discovered objects’, for example, can be integrated into play in various ways, while the wildness of the wooden structures provide ample opportunities to climb and balance, and not forgetting the hollows which can be used as places to hide and from where you can spy on what is happening outside. Areas such as these where there is no clearly defined purpose are particularly important for children, so that they can act and be creative as they see fit. By trying new things – sometimes encompassing risky manoeuvres in the process which are linked to failure – children learn to be more aware of the degree of difficulty associated with different challenges, and to be able to evaluate and to move – as the situation demands – accordingly.

This is how they slowly gain more confidence in their movements and simultaneously develop belief in their own abilities.

A footpath separates this ‘primordial’ landscape from the ‘urban’ space, which leads to the town of Mühlacker. The red and white painted Robinia pole, which forms part of the vista with the Mühlacker medium wave transmitter which stands at 273 metres tall, can be seen from afar. This transmitter has been the town landmark since 1930. It was decommissioned in 2012 – the Robinia pole will consequently become a means of remembering this venerable tower, which will be dismantled and removed in the coming years. The red and white pole is connected by a rope to the play tower, which stands two to three metres away. You can balance back and forth on ropes between mast and tower at dizzying heights. This is particularly appealing to children because the swinging ropes demand skill and courage. Self-belief and the ability to overcome your inhibitions can be strengthened here. A view of the garden show grounds is afforded from both of the tower’s platforms, which can be reached via climbing nets located in the inside of the tower. From one minute to another, you can view the world from up above – a change of perspective is possible. From here the shape of the frequency line, painted in gaudy red on the top edge, is visible. The zig-zag shape of the frequency line creates areas on both sides with passages in which various sound elements are installed. Tubular bells with sound tubes, a dendrophone with sound boards, sound discs, and a sound drawing table, all manufactured by Richter Spielgeräte GmbH and based on the design by Wolfram Graubner in collaboration with Hugo Kükelhaus ‘Play Stations for developing the senses’ plays with the theme of frequency and the connected vibrations and pulses. They invite both children and adults alike to experiment with melodic play and sounds.

The play and exercise area is characterised by its excellent recreational and play value and enables people of all ages to enjoy a large range of motion sequences. The space offers our smallest visitors a variety of play opportunities in sand and water. For youths there are difficult challenges leading up to the tests of courage, especially in the play tower. Lastly, for adults there are opportunities not just to wander and have a seat, but also to enjoy sensory experiences with the different sound elements on the long-wave line.

 

Photo: KuKuk GmbH

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